hckn019: Digital activism in Brazil

Willkommen zu einer weiteren Folge Haecksenwerk!

Haecksenwerk ist das Podcastkollektiv der Haecksen. Es geht um die ganze Bandbreite von Technik, Kultur und Feminismus. In unserem Podcast möchten wir Einblicke in Themen geben, die uns bewegen. Diese Folge ist ein Interview, das auf Englisch geführt wurde.

In this episode, Piko talks with Marla about feminist digital activism in Brazil.
Marla gives workshops on digital forensics and cyber security. She is member of two organizations: MariaLab, which organizes infrastructure and workshops for the general public, and the Transfeminist Network for Digital Care, a place for care for each other. This is part of a series about feminist hacker spaces all around the world.


MariaLab is a non-profit organisation with no political party ties or private sector companies that works at the intersection of politics, gender and technology.

We work for the valorisation of self-care in digital media, bringing technology to feminist spaces and feminism to technology spaces, building safe environments, both virtual and physical, with social, ethnic or economic cut-outs because we understand that this is the only way to build learning through the exchange and accumulation of knowledge between all.

Transfeminist Network of Digital Care

“DISH OF THE DAY: the digital care meal” project: https://pratododia.org/en/
The Transfeminist Network does not yet have a website.

Marla’s contact:
mar (at) interseclab.org

InterSecLab is a transfeminist research laboratory on political and targeted digital surveillance carried out by Estates against activists, human rights defenders and social movements. Our approach focuses on two aspects: the forensic analysis of devices and active research into state-sponsored surveillance.



Redaktion: piko
Sprechende: piko, Marla
Produktion: piko, phoenixtrixi, fuchur
Coverart: https://mullana.de/


Piko: Welcome to Haecksenwerk. This episode will be in English. Willkommen zum Haecksenwerk. Diese Folge wird auf Englisch sein, weil es sich um ein Interview handelt mit einer Hackerin aus Brasilien. 

So, welcome to Haecksenwerk. Today I’m having a very interesting guest. That’s Marla. She’s from Brazil and she’s going to talk about some very interesting organizations. This episode is part of a series about feminist hacker spaces all around the world. We already had one episode about Kenya. If you didn’t already hear it, you totally can check it out because it’s super interesting what organizations and the struggles over there are. And today I am going to talk with Marla about two organizations in Brazil: one more for the general public, which is called “MariaLab”, and one more for the feminists themselves, that’s the “Transfeminist Network of Care”. But what this for the general public and for themselves means, that will become clear later. But first, let’s talk about you, Marla. Who are you and what do you do?

Marla: Thank you for the invitation. I’m very glad to be here. So about me, who are you? – it’s a hard question. So I’m working on feminist tech since 2020. I come from the tech field since 20 years ago, but I was working in the private sector for many years and then like coming and going in the technology field because it feels many times useless, let’s say, to be on this field for working for profit without purpose, let’s say. And so I started like as a teenager working on this field in 2000s. And then after giving up on the field, I started studying social sciences in university. And then I found out that the student movement needed tech knowledge and almost nobody was doing that. And then it was like slowly coming back to the field and helping because I was kind of like the computer person. So I was kind of being pushed to do things and finding more interesting. And so I was like getting deeper on this field. And then like it was kind of by chance that I started working for an NGO in Brazil, like a legal one called “Rede Liberdade”, Freedom Network. And then that’s how I converted from the private sector to the third sector or like NGOs. And since then, I met MariaLab through like a learning program on system administration. And that’s like how our relation was being built. Yeah. And like my interest is very broad in technology. I’ve done like many different things, like system administration, cybersecurity. And now I’m focusing on digital forensics. And I’m a fellow in the Amnesty International Digital Forensics Program, like fellowship. It’s like the first cohort. And it’s been like amazing. And MariaLab recently launched ???Threat Lab??? also. And so I’m co-coordinating the Threat Lab.

Piko: Can you and are you allowed to explain further what you’re doing at Amnesty?

Marla: In Amnesty, we have several trainings on digital forensics. So it’s this knowledge exchange. And then we’re also like all the fellows have to have a research project. And in my case, I’m researching state-sponsored surveillance in Brazil. So like it’s the surveillance landscape in Brazil. And this was because there was like a knowledge gap in this area in Brazil, like Amnesty is doing like a lot of stuff around the world in many countries. And I found out like there was no like results on Brazil. There was no anything kind of. But I knew like it’s not because there’s no surveillance in Brazil, you know. And so like, why not? Somebody has to do that. And why not me? And why not now?

Piko: And what kind of surveillance is there, for example? 

Marla: Yeah, I’m planning to publish like in two months or something like June about that. 

Piko: Oh, for the people in the future. Right now, we’re recording this end of April 2023. So maybe your publication is already out there when we publish. So it’s a race between the podcast episode and your…

Marla: Yeah. And what I can say about like surveillance in Brazil, it’s kind of not shocking, I would say, like, there was no a lot of things like more recently, since like 2021, the subject started to get like more attention, because Bolsonaro’s government tried to buy Pegasus. And then this legal organization I was working for, like was working to prevent the purchase of the software. And I worked like on the technical side explaining why this is a very invasive software, because they were trying to buy it as if it was a Zoom subscription, you know. And since then, like there are more things being published. But before that, also some organizations as “coding rights” was doing like extensive research about this landscape also. So I’m also working based on their work on previous work, like updating, you know, what we had found before. But we still don’t have like any forensic evidence of surveillance with like attribution, you know. We know there are several companies like Brazil, even exporting surveillance softwares. But nobody’s really talking about that. Like it’s like in a bubble yet, I would say just like few people like in some publications, but I feel public opinion is not very influenced by that. And so yeah, let’s try to make things more visible towards that.

Piko: This is very interesting, because it’s a subject in the German hacker scene, which is like one of the typical subjects of the Chaos Computer Club, always warning about exactly that… yeah, that subject. And do you think that, apart from Amnesty International, are there other bigger organizations, especially for this state surveillance subject? 

Marla: In the world, do you mean? 

Piko: No, no. In Brazil. 

Marla: Yeah, that I know of, like only MariaLab is doing that now. And we like having some cases already that we’re working on, but like just starting working on some results. But it seems like, yeah, what we’re working on right now, it’s more like fraud. We didn’t find anything yet related to political surveillance, you know, political based surveillance. But yeah, now we are April 20 was the last class on the digital forensics course that I’m doing in MariaLab. And so we just did the first like feminist digital forensic course also, which is like, we’re very proud of it was very interesting experience. And so we brought just like a few people in our network to exchange this knowledge. And it’s somehow something like what I’m learning from Amnesty, I’m kind of bringing to feminist people. Yeah, like translating also like trying to close this gap between language and because this field is like, everything is English, English, you know, and so in order to kind of like make more accessible, the course is aiming to do that also like trying to have this kind of knowledge in Portuguese.

Piko: So then let’s talk a little bit more about MariaLab. When did you found it? How did it start? Were you there from the beginning?

Marla: No, I didn’t found MariaLab. Actually, like I’m kind of like new there, which makes me like also feeling very like humble and responsible somehow to be here representing them. And this is also part of MariaLab’s way of doing things and like our leadership structure. Oh, but answering more directly your question: MariaLab started eight years ago. And back then, it was like aiming to produce like feminist infrastructure. And so we started by having services and it’s kind of like technology made by feminists and for feminists. Because not only in Brazil, but in the world, tech is like kind of dominated by cis men. And so aiming to change that, it’s how MariaLab started. And I’m very proud to be here now as like they’re starting as a student, you know, on their program. So I’m kind of like a creature, MariaLab’s creature. 

Piko: Yes, I totally can feel that. I also feel like a creature of the Haecksen. And there are so it’s also a kind of a story that totally predates oneself. And yeah, you can build on it. And I think that’s also the idea that is kind of carried on. And do you know something about the development of MariaLab? How did it, for example, develop during the pandemic?

Marla: In the beginning, MariaLab was also like it had this proactive objective of building feminist infrastructure. But we were also giving support to women and trans people according to their needs. So like very reactive. And so we’re still kind of doing that. But now more organized, let’s say. And in March 10, we launched “Maria d’Ajuda”, which is the first Brazilian feminist helpline. And this is like kind of result of a work that MariaLab was doing since the beginning, but more like according to the needs and without organized and like methodology. And so like we felt like the need to stop. And we were like for one year, preparing everything and building also our helpdesk software in order to have that. And like, yeah, we’re very happy to launch now like the helpline.

Piko: How does the helpline work?

Marla: We have an email and so everybody can send an email and ask for help to explain a little bit of the subject without like giving too much information, sensitive information. And then in like 24 hours, we will answer. And we have like kind of some roles and so layers in this support. So like the firstly, we call like “atendedoras”, which is kind of the first engagement, let’s say. And then the atendedoras role will be like to find out the context and understand how MariaLab can help. And then filter it out. And then like pass it to the ones who have more knowledge about it or interest also because we have this learning process is like ongoing for us. So like we can choose like I would like to learn more about digital forensics. And so the atendedoras will pass the cases to someone more experienced and someone like in a learning position too. So we can like build this knowledge. It’s not like you don’t know about that you don’t do, you know, we’re all like learning. Yeah. Yeah. And then also like before the helpline, we were doing also communitarian network support. So in indigenous territories and quilombolas also. And yeah, this was very nice. So like we learned a lot from that, about not preaching tech from like this hierarchical position when we know everything and we will like teach you and you receive our knowledge, receive our support, working with like indigenous people and other marginalized groups. Care is like very important and also like decolonize our thought like that like we have something important to… teach, and then you don’t know, you have to listen, you know? Yeah.

Piko: Yes. So what kinds of projects do you do there? Do you go into kind of those areas and just put Wi-Fi up? Or how can I imagine that? 

Marla: Yeah. Yeah. Actually, it’s like building. It’s not internet itself. It’s like communitarian networks. So like different territories can communicate among themselves, you know, so outside internet. And this like has been a huge fight in Brazil also. Broons, which is like more specialized on this field, focusing on this field, is like having meetings with Anatel, which is like the organization, like controlling communications in Brazil, like state organization. And there is like this, like a problem about like privatizing the air, you know, so like we are not allowed to use like radio frequencies and low frequencies. And so like this has been a fight also like to be able to like use the air.

Piko: Are you not allowed because it’s it’s state owned and nobody may use it? Or are you not allowed because there are some companies who own it and you can’t use company property? 

Marla: Yeah, actually, it’s the state, but the state is like mumming the private sector, like they can choose like who they will allow to do that. And they are prone to do that for companies, but like not for indigenous people who are feminists. So that’s the struggle. So it’s like these contradictions. 

Piko: So you’re building feminist infrastructure. It’s like feminist helpline and also for indigenous people. We also already talked about economic justice. Is that the same thing with the projects with the indigenous people or is that something else?

Marla: Yeah, it has something to do for sure. But I think like when we talk about like economic justice, it’s more related to our learning programs and also like the way MariaLab works also as an organization. And so like maybe this was somehow like a move in the movements, because like before, like most of people were doing like activism voluntarily. But like in development countries, this is very hard, because we are already like fighting for survival so much. And then like people were like getting tired and facing like burnout and everything. And then we thought like we need to work on care, because activism is like about other people, you know, like this for the outside. But also like if we don’t take care of ourselves, we will not be able to do this work in long term, you know, we will get sick. And so MariaLab is always trying to pay the hours for meetings, for learning programs also. And so we can, because only studying is like a privilege also. 

Piko: So it’s not just the kind of the teachers who are paid, but also the learners. 

Marla: Yeah, every learner. We try to have scholarships, let’s say, for everybody like in the learning programs and also like for people taking notes. We have different roles when you have a course and everybody will like be paid.

Piko: Why is this feminist? Are there kind of structures or goals you have, which are like explicitly feminist, apart from the thing being like for equal rights for all genders?

Marla: This is like always hard, a hard question. We are being asked like what is like feminist tech? 

Piko: Yes!

Marla: This is like for us, we can say even like we don’t know, or we can say like it’s an open concept. We’re trying to answer this question like every day. And so I think like this is part of the work is like understanding what is feminist tech? And something like we can say like more directly is feminist is like the way we name our servers, we name our services also, the way we name like the organization, the way we name like different projects, and trying through language change the way we think about things and the way we think about how technology work. If we study a bit, we will see like programming languages were firstly considered female work, you know, and now like it’s like made for men, but it was not always like that, like they co-opted this area for them. It’s kind of like doing something new, but without forgetting that this was our work, like in the past years also. So like it’s kind of like reclaiming also tech, like it’s reclaiming and also like building new things. And besides that, care is in the center of the work. And I think this is like a main difference between what we see like in learning processes, like normal courses, like from private universities, when it’s more about kind of you need to be ready, you need to be like made, even before you start, you need to have some knowledge, you need to have some background. And maybe it’s how we see ourselves also. This thing about like being specialists, we try to kind of avoid that, because then this will like build this gap between people, you know, like it’s hard, like with tech, we’re always like thinking we don’t know enough. Me, for example, like I also gave up on tech because I thought I was obsolete after like stopping for two years. And then now it’s over, I will be like mediocre. And then after coming back in the past four years, I can see like, it’s not like that. Because it’s like becoming obsolete so fast also. 

Piko: Yes, you, everyone has to learn something new and kind of just be on the current level. So if you miss something, you can just, well, kind of jump back in. 

Marla: Yeah. 

Piko: But it’s really like having the bravery or the assurance of yourself to believe that you’re able to do that. It’s that kind of stereotype threat, like being always aware of the stereotypes which are applying to you, that really costs another amount of energy. 

Marla: Yeah. And maybe like something else is, it seems like the world is like divided between technophobia and technophilia. Somehow some people are like, oh, technology will solve every problem. And I think it’s more like how cis men see technology, like we have a problem, let’s build another technology and let’s build a new app and like save the world. And like, even like we can see that with the companies like Apple, Google, like even their logos, you know, like this thing about like Apple trying to save the world from like, what would be like IBM dystopia, you know, and then this new company will change everything and subvert, and then Google kind of doing the same. And yeah, we don’t think technology will solve every problem. We need to engage with it because it’s like affecting our lives. But let’s not idealize technology, like it’s harmful and it’s like helpful also, like so it’s more about like how we dose. 

Piko: And always about the people behind it.

Marla: Yeah. 

Piko: You mentioned naming schemes in feminism or your feminism in naming schemes. And that brings me to the question, why MariaLab? Who’s Maria?

Marla: Actually, like, this is funny. Maria is because it’s like a common name in Brazil. So like, it’s a way also to be accessible, you know, like Maria, like everybody’s kind of Maria. And lab, although it looks like laboratory, actually, it’s not because of it. It’s because of like labrador, which is like a dog. 

Piko: That’s why it’s MariaLab.  

Marla: Yeah yeah. So like also somehow like being funny is part of it also, you know, not too serious. Like the threat lab, we call like “TretaLab”, which is Treta is like a slang for like fighting, you know, so like it’s like laboratory of fighting somehow. Yeah. And also like Maria d’Ajuda, the helpline’s name, it’s kind of like Maria that helps. 

Piko: Okay. 

Marla: So like, yeah, it’s like, yeah, I’m very, like, surprised always and amazed with like, Maria, like their creativity. I don’t feel so good, like naming things as they do. So good. 

Piko: Another question about MariaLab is you mentioned a special leadership structure. Do you want to elaborate on that?

Marla: Yeah. Our leadership structure is like actually horizontal. We don’t have leaders. We call it sociocracy. And it’s about having roles. And they are always temporary. So there’s no like MariaLab’s director or MariaLab’s coordinator. Like we can, in Portuguese, to be, we have two meanings. We have like two possible interpretations, which is I am being coordinator now. I’m not the coordinator, you know. So like I’m being coordinator in this project. And then in another project, someone else will be or like next year, someone else will be. And then like also like being here representing MariaLab is like I’m doing this role now, but I’m not like MariaLab’s like outreach person. And this is part like of the learning process also and diversifying our roles. And I think like growth is so different when we do that. I am, again, like an example of it, starting like as like a learner, as a student, and then like now coordinating a project, you know. And like I would say we are also like kind of not following common social structure to that. Like you need to be an intern and then you need to go a little further step to become like junior and then senior, you know, and then coordinator and director. So like new people can coordinate a project and like working in peers also. So we try to always work with peers. And so someone with like more experience in this specific field will help somebody else. And like by the end of like this process, this more junior person is ready for coordinating another project, maybe as like the one teaching someone else. And so like and we’re trying always to like have this space for learners, you know, opened, bringing more people and then and letting them go also. So it’s not also like this thing like we are hiring you. You are ours. 

Piko: Yes.

Marla: Everybody is also doing like different projects, like being independent, having like their own career, their own wishes without privatizing their knowledge, like intellectual property. We’re trying to face that also like this structure of power that companies have over us, you know, like…

Piko: How many people are you exactly in Maria Lab? Do you kind of have some inner circle? 

Marla: Yeah, now like, yeah, we have like, kind of some layers also of involvement. Let’s say it’s according to like free time also, how much you want to focus on specific projects, you’re free to like, get more involved or less involved, according to your needs also, and mental health also, to address like different problems. And now we have 7 people in this inner circle, but like around 10 working like in different projects with less or more involvement. 

Piko: So that was our look at the MariaLab, which is more focused on the outside, like giving workshops to other people, providing infrastructure for other people. And now let’s talk about the “Transfeminist Network of Digital Care”, which is more like for the inside or for the people who are in this network. But yeah, let’s talk about that. How many people are there? What do they do? 

Marla: Okay, yeah. So the Transfeminist Network of Digital Care is like one more like broad organization, let’s say, composed by different organizations and MariaLab is one of them. But also like “Coding Rights” is part of the network. We have also like a more like inner circle and like more broad one. And like in the inner circle, now we are 17 people and 21, 22 that are like around, and like participating in some specific meetings and specific projects, like exchanging knowledge also, like and being supportive to each other. Yeah, more, let’s say, like active 17. But this can also change, if we say like, oh, now I want to focus more on the Transfeminist Network of Digital Care, you just come and do. And if you also need to now like this semester, I cannot focus so much. And so we like rotate also. 

Piko: I can imagine that that’s also an important part of the concept because it’s like caring for each other. So what do you do? What is this network for?

Marla: Yeah, the Transfeminist Network of Digital Care originates by kind of like being tired of being in masculine spaces, let’s say, or cis masculine spaces. And so it’s kind of like because like we were like already working in different organizations, like mixed organizations with men, and facing like violence, like to be like very honest and true. And so like we felt that we needed a space for ourselves and do the things like, and feel respected, and feel like important, and feel listened. And so like this is like an effort to and also like to have conversations about that, to have the space to speak about that. Although like we are being trying to speak out about what’s happening, the structures will kind of, you know, the power structures because it’s ok, it’s an NGO, but it’s still a work. You still need this job. 

Piko: Yes. 

Marla: And so it’s like very hard to be facing like in your daily life, like this boss, let’s say, will like be reproducing like patriarchy. 

Piko: And even if it’s in air quotes, “just activism”, and not a day to day work, it’s still kind of an environment where there are social structures, where you are not always like you don’t have always the possibility to question those social structures. And even if there’s a possibility, if you do it too often, there are kind of people yeah, eye rolling and the feminist again, the feminist killjoy. And often there are so many problems that you can’t really solve them all without really getting on the other people’s nerves. This happens to also be a little bit the founding myth of the Haecksen, that there was like the big Chaos Computer Club events, and the women on those events noticed: they tend to meet in the kitchen and they kind of have a not really hostile, but always a little bit uncomfortable environment. And they can’t really be as efficient as they could be, because it’s like always costing some energy to just be in this environment. 

Marla: Yeah, totally. Being silenced is like very efficient part of the power structure because of what you’re saying, like cost energy to be all the time. It’s like very tiring to be all the time having to approach. You’re like silencing me again. Like, can I speak? And then, you know. 

Piko: And also respecting their feelings. It’s like if I always noticed that the men or the patriarchy defenders are always kind of accusing the feminists about being emotional, but then they’re self are like super weak with their emotions and like easily offended and very much afraid. And that’s like… [makes frustrated noise] 

The name of the network is “Transfeminist Network of Digital Care”. What exactly is transfeminist? Do you want to elaborate on that? And why is it exactly transfeminist?

Marla: I think transfeminist is trying to be more inclusive. I think also somehow it works like both sides. It’s like about cis women, feminism, understanding that fights like trans people’s fights are very similar, although also very different. But we have like a lot in common, which is patriarchy against us. And like this oppressive binary world that they try to make us swallow. And also somehow, on the other hand, I think for me, it’s very important being like a trans woman to support feminism. Like understanding like this historical fight, the struggles. I don’t see value in trying to split the movement. Although it’s not homogenous and it shouldn’t be. We don’t need that to make it work. But it’s something I want to bring forces together, let’s say, because also like the reading was very important for me, for my process to understand me, the construction of the concept of women and also like, let’s say, the deconstruction was helping me to understand who I am. And brought me to this point. For me, it makes a lot of sense to work together to bring this together.

Piko: Would you say that the word “transfeminist” in the title of the network is more about feminism by transwomen? Or is it more about a feminism by every woman, which knows that the struggle of every gender against patriarchy is the same struggle as the mainstream feminist struggle. So like just an intersectional feminism, which just knows that those struggles can’t be divided because it’s just the same struggle.

Marla: Yeah, I would say totally that like the second thing is that it’s like a gender struggle. Yeah, I think we have more in common towards the world we’re fighting for. And then we should have, I hope we have more in common. And also it has to be trans men inclusive also. Yeah, and sometimes like trans men people ask, is like trans feminism also for me? And it’s important to repeat and say clearly, yes, because otherwise there is no place for trans men. And this is something like it’s really important that we put our attention on and to make it inclusive, to make it clear that it’s a space for like non-binary people, like not only trans women, you know, like for trans men, non-binary people, queer people also. 

Piko: So what do you do in the transfeminist network of digital care? 

Marla: Currently, I am assistant administrator as like more fixed role. But we also like we all discuss about every subject and every decision is made by everybody. So I would say I’m also outreaching the transfeminist network of digital care as something natural for me, because like the transfeminist network of digital care for me, it’s like home. It’s like this resting place that allows me to feel comfortable. And then it’s so easy to talk about the network. And so I’m kind of like doing informally, let’s say, like without having a specific role. And I think like this is also part of our methodology. People will do by themselves what they feel like doing. And it’s working pretty well, even without having like very fixed role structure. 

Piko: Which actions does this network do? Are they also providing workshops? What kind of things are you doing?

Marla: Yeah, we are providing workshops and we are doing also some like community engagements, like more broad, trying to bring like as many people as we can, according to our infrastructure. What is allowed by remote workshops also, because the transfeminist network is trying to also face this problem of everything in Brazil is happening in Sao Paulo. Or Rio de Janeiro. And we’re trying to change that also, because, yeah, if like there is like this imposter syndrome and this problem with feminist tech in Sao Paulo, you can imagine how it’s like northeast and more like north, like Amazon region. And so, yeah, we’re trying to like reach also more people and work in this accessibility learning processes, which are more like, let’s say, ludic.

Piko: Playful.

Marla: Yeah, playful. Yeah. And then working more like, let’s say, psychological issues when dealing with technology. So it’s more focused on showing it’s not that hard. It’s for you. It can be for everybody, but doesn’t need to be also like in discussing like the right to be offline, also bringing like in Portuguese, we say like traditional knowledge, but it’s not related to conservative tradition, but like indigenous knowledge, Afro-Brazilian people’s knowledge. And it’s mostly about digital security. And so like we realize that security for women, trans people and marginalized people is something they know because they need that to survive. When you’re going out on the street, even though you don’t systematize this knowledge, like I have a methodology, but we have our methodologies, you know, like where you can go, when, how, alone or with a company and all of it is like security. So we’re like telling people like you already know, and then they can like feel, they can teach us because of it. We will ask them and learn also from them. Yeah. And then only like maybe add that like in the digital perspective is kind of the same. And so working with like metaphors and also like this, we have this program that occurred during pandemics called “Gincana Monstra”, which is kind of monster game somehow. And we have Gincana Monstra is published in Spanish, Portuguese and English. So everybody can access. 

Piko: We’ll put a link in the show notes. 

Marla: And this program was like, it’s a game, but that nobody wins or everybody wins. It’s kind of trying to change this mindset of competition, because like a Gincana, usually it’s about winning, you know, who wins. It’s like different games. And then at the end, you have the winners based on like how many little games this team won. And so we’re kind of using that, but showing we don’t need to have like a champion. Everybody will win with the learning process.

Piko: What kinds of self-care do you organize? So tell me about how do you do this self-care? How do you care for each other in this network?

Marla: Yeah, something that we’re doing and it’s been like very successful in the Transfeminist Network, but also in MariaLab, is doing check in and check out in every meeting we have. Like so temperature checks in the beginning and at the end. And this is like a space for people to say how they are feeling and not giving like this, you know, like very robotic answers – “how are you doing? “I’m okay” – and then work, you know, and then like making decisions. And this is also violent because many times we’re not feeling good. We’re not in the mood to work. We’re not prepared to make big decisions. And if we don’t say, we will be like kind of passing over ourselves, you know, like, and it’s not helpful even with production, you know, because you can easily have little conflicts or, you know, if someone is not feeling well today, maybe they will not react so good about some comment. And then you have problems that you could easily avoid if at the beginning you say, I’m not feeling so well today, so maybe I’ll be more quiet. And it’s not because I’m not liking what you say or because. And so this is being very helpful. And it’s part of care also. Like, so if someone says, like, I’m not feeling too well today, we will not also ignore, you know, like, okay. And then work. We have like some space for that also. And maybe even like cancel the plans. 

Piko: And I think it’s also super good to kind of be forced to think a moment about it because you have a day where you’re kind of angry, but you don’t really notice it or you don’t think about it. But it changes your decisions. And if you’re forced to have a little moment of introspection and really think about, okay, oh, I noticed I’m angry. You even might yourself behave differently because you know, okay, this is right now a condition of mine. And also, well, that’s also kind of a feminist talking point with the emotions are everywhere. And by saying, okay, I’m the rational, normal male, just spirit and no body person, which is like an idea of the century of enlightenment. And there’s just the brain or just the mind, which is like dominating everything. And everyone who has emotions is weak and lesser. And as a man having this idea of themselves, they brush over the emotions, which may be like, which are normalized to be rational, like being angry or feeling powerful, which are also some kinds of emotions and which are also kind of changing the room. And I really like this idea that you also notice those. So, yes, that’s great!

Marla: Yeah. And helps a lot. Sometimes like some people will say, like, I’m feeling very good today. Like everything is like working good. I’m happy and excited. And someone will say, like, I’m feeling very bad. And then this will allow us to see like how we’ll be changing like our moods, because we’re stopping to reflect on that. And also like allow us to really do something. And we are doing, you know, it’s not like just a methodology. So like if we see we can help someone, we will try to do everything, every effort we can in order to do that, no matter what kind of materially or a talk or psychology or anything like that. Yeah. And also like at the end, we realize that although we’re not maybe feeling good today, I always feel at the end, like more personally, maybe I’m not feeling so good, but it was very good to be here with you. Feeling of like gratitude. And so, yeah, and this brought me like this thing of this perspective also of like anti-work, that I think the Transfeminist Network of Digital Care kind of challenges the concept of what is work also, because we’re kind of this internal perspective is also kind of some people will consider like talking about yourself, talking about how are you feeling? It’s like wasting time. And so we will neglect our problems and then accumulate them and then like burnout. And then even for productivity doesn’t work or like it’s only like it’s not… 

Piko: …durable, sustainable! 

Marla: Sustainable. Yeah. 

Piko: In the pre-talk, you mentioned a very interesting citation, which is “payment is not the reward for work, but it’s condition”. What do you mean with that?

Marla: Yeah, I think payment is a condition for work is like very material because like it’s about human rights, you know, having the conditions to live, the conditions to want to produce something, want to do something. It cannot be like only because we have to change the world. There are already so many problems that we have to face towards the outside, and it’s too heavy to work on your surroundings and like grassroots movements. And also like it’s kind of feels like a war the way we’re living in Brazil right now. And so this is yeah, it’s very hard that doing this work and being the most affected like because we’re doing this work because we are the most affected. Like it’s transfeminism because like we’re suffering violence every day. And then besides that, like having to beg for a more stable life, it’s too much. And so this is something I would say it’s like very hard on the field because of the structures of fundings also. Our time is not the funders time. And also like regarding this time frame of projects, one year is not enough. One year is like too stressful because you start a project right now and you have to be thinking about a funding raise already. And then it becomes too much. And so, yeah, I think thinking that payment this condition, we need to like think about how like funding should work, especially for feminist movements. 

Piko: So I’m getting to the end of the Transfeminist Network of Digital Care blog.

Do you have a founding myth? Do you have kind of a founding story or something that happened and you knew, oh, we need that?

Marla: I don’t know, actually. Maybe, but maybe it’s like not a founding myth, but maybe more raw somehow. Or like this comes from realizing it’s enough, you know, enough of like not having space enough of not having our voices listened. Let’s do ourselves. And it’s working pretty well. I’m not missing anything. 

Piko: So coming to the end, I want to ask you about general feminist topics in Brazil.

So what are the problems that feminism is dealing with in Brazil? What things are you trying to change?

Marla: Yeah, right now, I think the main thing in my head is being like this red pill movement. I don’t know if I’ve heard of it. I don’t know how broad is that now, like internationally, but like it’s like this red pill stuff. It’s like about misogynist groups taking matrix pill and waking up. 

piko: Oh, my God. I think we have to elaborate a little bit on that. That’s like incel movement who say they wake up or see the light or see the real order of things. And they think they see that all the feminism is like stealing them the women they rightfully deserve or the sex they rightfully deserve. And so that’s the red pill movement.

And is it strong in Brazil?

Marla: Yeah. Yeah. It’s like mostly this thing you were saying, like actually like cis men are feeling weak, so weak, you know, even like a little scratch is like making a huge damage on their ego, it seems. And so like this movement is like about kind of like taking back something they are losing. But I cannot see what is that? Maybe like this big privileged way of life and this ego like being socially supported. And now that’s maybe changing a little bit overreacting. And it’s like, yeah, becoming very violent. And I cannot say like for all the feminists or trans feminists in Brazil, but I think like this subject should be addressed by feminism. And it’s urgent because they are hate speech is becoming like more and more strong. And it’s somehow towards women in general, but also very focused on feminists, very focused on leftist women. And so like they want this conservative women like housewife, you know, doing all the hard work for them and still calling them like fragile and weak. And this is becoming bigger in public opinion. But I still don’t see like this being addressed directly. And I think you have to do some move about it right now. And it’s happening in different spaces also, like but very strong in the Internet, like technology facilitated gender based violence is like now kind of mostly being led by this movement, by this like new form of organization, let’s say, or like a way of like spreading and having like symbols which are very strong. So I would like to see like a call for like organize ourselves and to try to prevent the growth and to try to make them accountable. 

Piko: And do you have other subjects of feminism in Brazil right now?

Marla: Yeah, something that I think made us very proud, but at the same time, a little disturbed is that the last time we as feminists really went to the streets was like before Bolsonaro was elected. And so like the demonstration was kind of had this hashtag, let’s say, Elinor, which is not him. Like, please, anybody. But not him, not anybody. There are others. Which are like, pretty bad also. But in this moment, it was like two, only two options, you know, like the central left one and Bolsonaro. And so it was very important to have like this clear message, not him, because of everything he represents. And so it was more than a million people, only in Sao Paulo. And this was totally led by feminists. And so it was very strong, very powerful. The result was not as good as expected. Somehow it turned into more popularity to Bolsonaro. You know, so like it was so strong, like not him. And this him was maybe more strong than not. And then I think like after that, we kind of felt like what we do now, you know, felt tired and I didn’t see anything as strong since then. And I think also like we need to believe again and like maybe now it’s a good moment of like a little resting as we have like a central left government. So maybe now it’s time like to build new things, to be creative again, to put our demands.

Piko: So I’d like to come to the end. How can one support you? Support MariaLab or support the Transfeminist Network of Digital Care?

Marla: MariaLab is receiving donations and you can find the information in our website, which is MariaLab.org. You can find further information there and how to also reach us and keep in contact.

piko: Are there possibilities next to money? How one can support you? Like is there something you’re looking for or?

Marla: While talking about the podcast, we were like excited to like do our podcast also. Like so you were like inspiring us also.

Piko: Oh, cool.

Marla: Yeah. And so I don’t know, maybe we could like exchange.

Piko: Yes, totally.

Marla: Knowledge about that.

Piko: Yes.

Marla: And as we are like a network, maybe like building or like expanding this network can really like support not only us, but the whole movement. Yeah. So great. 

Piko: It was so nice to have you here. And I’m so thankful for all the information, for all the things you told me and told the audience. One can find links and information about all of the things we talked about in the show notes, as well as details on how to donate to MariaLab and also how to donate to Haecksen. So if the listener wants to support MariaLab, please donate. Please help the feminism all over the world. And I wish you a very nice day. And thank you for being here, Marla.

Marla: Thank you.

It was very nice to be with you and spend this time together. I hope we can meet again.